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Steve Crump discusses 'Footprints of a King'

The latest documentary from Charlotte filmmaker Steve Crump debuts on Monday (Jan. 19) at 8 p.m. on WTVI Public Television. Footprints of a King Crump follows a bus tour that left the Carolinas last spring and made stops throughout the south at significant places in the civil rights movement. The documentary connects King to all those locations and events. Crump interviewed people who knew the famed leader along the way. "I remember Dr. King called me and said 'Wyatt, we're in trouble.' I said, 'What's the matter?' He said 'They bombed the 16th street Baptist Church and four little girls got killed," one man recalls in the documentary. WFAE Morning Edition host Scott Graf spoke to Crump about the project. Here's a transcript of that conversation: Scott Graf: Steve thanks for coming by today. Steve Crump: Good to be here, Scott. Scott Graf: Dr. King's legacy has been very well documented. In pieces like this in the past, why did you choose to do his documentary? Steve Crump: I think in many respects what happens here as you look at the piece, it's a travel log and in many ways it's following the dots. It was a result of some of the folks from the Carolinas going on a bus tour, where every city during the particular week the first week of April this year represented a significant event in the civil rights movement. Be it Atlanta the very first day of the tour, followed up by some of the following day, going to Montgomery taking in what occurred during the bus boycott, onto Birmingham to the 16th street Baptist church where four little girls were killed in 1963, and concluding the following day in Memphis at the Lorraine Hotel were Dr. King died. Scott Graf: In moments like that, do you separate yourself from Steve Crump the documentary maker from Steve Crump an African-American man who's here at a very historic moment? Steve Crump: I think you have to feel a certain degree of emotion there, without question. That's just one of those moments that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Scott Graf: And it did for you? Steve Crump: Absolutely Scott Graf: When you first heard about the trip, did you automatically think documentary? Steve Crump: (Laughs) I always think documentary. Yeah, I did and I had seen similar pieces that had been done just slightly different but I figure that this was a great way of at least bringing in some new voices and different perspectives combined with what we already know on the historical record front. Scott Graf: One thing I noticed as I watched this documentary is most of the people who were on the trip were at least middle aged - 40s, 50s, 60s. I didn't see a lot of young people. Do you feel like Dr. King's legacy is underappreciated by younger people? Steve Crump: Quite to the contrary, because at the end of the documentary is when a lot of the young college students begin to speak out. They talk about how important it is not only to see, and to touch, and to feel, and that the lessons that they experience that week are things they don't necessarily get in the classroom at their respective universities. But, the other part of that Scott is that they say based off what they experience through those places, the dialog and conversations with some of the other folks is that they feel as though it is important to accept the torts of responsibility that's being passed along to them. Scott Graf: So you feel like it's alive and well? Steve Crump: I wouldn't say it's alive and well, but I think that the awareness is there. the attitude is there and I think it's up to those students as individuals to decide. Especially at this very critical point in history, what it is they're going to do? Scott Graf: Have you identified the next today's Dr. Martin Luther King? Is there a young man or woman out there who kind of captures this spirit? Steve Crump: I don't think that there is one person who could ever be identified as the next. I think that you know that's kind of one of those things that you look at in terms of who is the next Michael Jordan or who is the next Babe Ruth. But even if that's the case, the blueprint that he left behind - the ideals, the strategies, the commitment, the devotion, the spirituality, ah the things that perhaps It's almost like you know Henry Ford built the automobile but you still got to put tires on it and an engine in it. It's the analogy of what are the things that work that he left behind and what is it then that is imitated and perhaps in many respects emulated by the next group of people who come along. Scott Graf: Steve Crump is a Charlotte documentary maker and T.V. news reporter. His latest film "Footprints of a King" debuts Monday at 8 p.m. on WTVI. The documentary will also air Tuesday at 11 p.m. and Wednesday at 8 p.m.